As efforts continue to enact a long-term protection plan of the agricultural lands located between the Village of New Paltz and the Shawangunk Ridge, the Open Space Institute (OSI) has been installing low-impact, agricultural wood post and wire fencing in certain vulnerable road locations in the Wallkill Flats.
The fencing is intended to preserve the agricultural functionality and aesthetic of the land, and ensure the protection of certain environmentally sensitive areas located within the property from unauthorized motorized vehicle access. It will also allow for OSI and Mohonk Preserve’s pilot cross-country ski program to be explored again should winter conditions allow. All planned fencing has received the necessary permits from the Town of New Paltz and is compliant with local zoning.
“The fencing is another incremental step we are taking to protect the land and ensure the public’s enjoyment of this wonderful landscape,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO, who noted that the fence installation by a local fencing company was prompted by on-site staff and adjacent neighbors expressing concern about increased unauthorized use by snowmobiles and other all-terrain vehicles and trucks that have been sited on and around the property.
“This is an important step in managing the land to support the agricultural uses that will continue there and also complement the proposed River-to-Ridge Trail,” said Glenn Hoagland, executive director of Mohonk Preserve. “The fencing program will immediately help to keep agriculture viable, and, if approved, help make River-to-Ridge safer for cross-country skiing, hiking, running,and cycling.”
A permanent plan for the River-to-Ridge Trail is currently under review and awaits final approval from the Town of New Paltz Planning Board. The proposed six-mile loop trail will be accessible free of charge when it opens in 2016. Hikers, cyclists and others will enjoy a ten-foot-wide gravel path that meanders through farm fields and over gently rolling hills, allowing direct access from the Village of New Paltz to the 90+ miles of recreational carriage roads and trails at the Mohonk Preserve and the Minnewaska State Park Preserve. The trail will also enable cyclists to safely bypass the narrow, congested shoulder of Route 299, currently the primary route leading from New Paltz to the preserves.
Fencing installation work will continue this month along Springtown Road, Route 299, Lewis Lane, Charles Lane and Butterville Road, and will be completed by Thanksgiving.